Vegan Comfort Food: Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

October 21, 2016
'Tis the season for squash! While it's usually pumpkin and pumpkin flavored items that we are bombarded with this time of year, there are so many other wonderful squash varieties out there. Each has a slightly different flavor profile, so you can find one that works in whatever type of recipe you're cooking up. Butternut is a common variety and what I chose to use as the sauce for a pasta dish. This mac and cheese recipe I created is kid friendly, but also appeals to and satisfies a more sophisticated palette. The flavor of the butternut squash works perfectly here, giving the dish a slightly sweet taste and the cashews make it super creamy. For the pasta, you can use whichever noodles you prefer. I tend to go for gluten-free options; for this one, I used a chickpea-based noodle, which turns a typically carb-heavy dish into a high-protein, high-fiber meal. This meal was lovely paired with a glass of wine for dinner but also made a healthy lunch for my three-year-old niece when served with some apple slices. This recipe makes quite a bit of sauce, and you may have some leftover. Luckily, it saves well and tastes delicious over roasted broccoli and cauliflower.
Vegan Comfort Food: Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Vegan Comfort Food: Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Recipe Type: Hearty Entrees
utensils YIELDS 5 servings
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  • 1 (8 oz) pkg gluten-free penne (I used a chickpea based pasta)
  • 3 cups kale, chopped
  • 1 med butternut squash
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 3/4 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespooon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
tomato
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Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds, place on a baking sheet cut side down and place in the oven.

3. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes or until you can easily pierce the skin with a fork.

4. Place cashews in a bowl of warm water and let soak for 30 minutes.

5. Bring a pot of water to boil, add the pasta noodles, and cook until al dente (6-8 minutes, depending on which kind of noodles you’re using), and drain and return to pot.

6. Remove squash from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Scoop out the flesh of the squash into your blender, add the rest of the ingredients (excluding the kale), and blend until smooth and creamy.

7. Pour sauce over noodles, sprinkle on the chopped kale, and stir to combine.

8. Heat on low for 5-10 minutes, allowing the kale to wilt a bit (add more almond milk if needed).

Also by Kathryn: Vegan Zucchini Eggplant Rolls

Related: Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Creamy Sundried Tomato Pasta Sauce

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Photos: Kathryn Farrugia


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Kathryn is a vegan cook and nutrition consultant based in Los Angeles. She uses yoga in the park, runs by the beach and hikes through the mountains to connect and inspire creativity that she brings to her dishes. She is determined to make the world a healthier and happier place one meal at a time. Read more at ZENutrition or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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